The students and teachers coming from Portugal, Poland, Romania, Great Britain and Finland were hosted by their Italian partners of Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Superiore “E. Mattei”, Fiorenzuola d’Arda (PC) from 7th to 11th November 2016.
During the week they had the opportunity to take part in a series of activities which were aimed at pursuing the objectives of the project, i.e. raising awareness of the cultural and geographical heritage of the local area, getting to know the products’ features related to the natural environment of the region, becoming acquainted with the local range of industrial, commercial and handicraft associations and developing the ability to think critically, take initiative, solve problems and work collaboratively through creative entrepreneurship workshops. In particular, they learnt how to take advantage of the opportunities offered by their homeland, develop their own business ideas, create a business plan, look for the help and assistance of the local institutions which support the creation of new businesses.
The opening ceremony took place on 7th November; students and teachers were welcomed by the headteacher of the hosting school, Ms Rita Montesissa together with the teacher who is in charge of the project, Ms Claudia Pavesi, the deputy headteacher, Mr Gianni Montani, the president of the schoolboard, Ms Cristina Crosatti, the mayor of Fiorenzuola, Mr Romeo Gandolfi, the town councillor in charge of education, Ms Paola Pizzelli and the headteacher of the local junior secondary school, Mr Mario Magnelli. The ceremony was attended by the classes involved in the project, which are 3^B, 4^A, 4^B, 5^A and 5^B of Istituto Tecnico Economico (age 16-19).
Ms Montesissa started the activities by introducing a motivational video about creativity and entrepreneurship.
The opening ceremony was accompanied by some songs performed by the Italian student Elisa Visigalli.
At the end of the ceremony the Italian students accompanied their guests in a school tour during which they provided information about the Italian school system, the subjects they study, timetables, extracurricular activities, final examinations and working opportunities. A game-based learning activity (Kahoot-game in groups) was carried out at the end of the activity to verify the levels of students’ understanding and participation.
In the afternoon students and teachers learned more about How to use the latest technology to keep up with the times by meeting Elena Caminati, a young startupper who decided to found the local WebTV Zerocinque23 after the closing down of TV channel she worked for. She explained the risks and difficulties she had to face at the beginning of her experience and highlighted the advantages of working on her own and using new technologies. Students asked questions about her job and the strategies she employs to stay competitive; finally, she showed how she works every day by recording two video-interviews held by two Italian students of the school magazine with an English student and teacher.
|Teatro Giuseppe Verdi - Fiorenzuola d'Arda|
Back to school, the students were involved in the project activity named Our smart ideas for a better life!, with the presentation and discussion of the business ideas they had invented and developed in their home countries. Each country explained their business ideas by using drawings and ppt presentations or staging mock commercials; students asked questions and highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of their business ideas, which were later put to the vote; students chose PopSquared (UK), which came in 1st, WalkToPower (PT) (2nd) and Glasses for instant translation (RO) (3rd). Teachers chose Nail creator (PL).
|Presentations of business ideas|
|The winning idea: Pop Squared, a cup and a popcorn bowl in one|
In the afternoon students took part in the workshop How to build your own business model canvas: Luca Piccinno (Aster, Regione Emilia Romagna), who is an expert on startups, explained students what a business model canvas is and helped them use it to further develop the four business ideas they had chosen in the morning. Students worked in small groups on the canvas by focusing on the following aspects: key partners, value propositions, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, cost structure and revenue streams.
|Dinner at Scalabrini and games|
On 9th November the group went to Piacenza. The activities started with a visit to Tecnopolo, which is part of the Emilia Romagna High Technology Network and provides expertise, tools and resources for the development of new enterprises. A specialist explained how Tecnopolo supports young startuppers with innovative ideas by giving them the opportunity to use their advanced machine tools to carry out experiments and tests on new materials and devices.
|Tecnopolo - Piacenza|
|Urban Hub - Piacenza|
After that the group moved to TICE Learning Centre, which is an example of a successful Social Innovation startup. The business was founded by Francesca Cavallini, a young psychologist who wanted to develop new social services in favour of the local community. The cofounders explained in which areas they operate (disabilities, ADHD, specific learner disorders, developmental psychology, motivation and coaching) and how the centre, which is now very successful, has helped other psychologists open their own businesses in other parts of Italy, by offering specific training and know-how. While visiting the centre, the students also met a young woman who has just opened her own centre in Sicily.
|Tice Learning Centre|
Lunchtime was spent at Eataly Piacenza; Eataly is the largest Italian marketplace in the world, comprising a variety of restaurants, food and beverage counters, bakery, retail items, and a cooking school. It was founded in 2007 by Oscar Farinetti who had the innovative idea of introducing a new way of distributing high quality agricultural products to demonstrate that high-quality products can be made available to everyone, easy to find and at affordable prices. The students and teachers were divided into small groups to visit the store together with the staff who provided information on the mission and vision of the company, their key activities and organisation of the store. After lunch the group had a cultural walking tour around Piacenza with the Italian students as tourist guides.
|Eataly - Piacenza|
The following day, 10th November, was devoted to the discovery of the food productions and cultural and historical background of the area; in the morning the group visited the local dairy of Agrinascente (Fidenza) where Parmigiano Reggiano is produced. The manager of the dairy showed the production process from the delivery of milk to the ripening of cheese.
|Dairy Agrinascente - Fidenza|
The trip continued in Parma where Polo Museale della Pilotta (Museo Archeologico, Teatro Farnese and Galleria Nazionale) and the most relevant monuments of the city centre were visited. Detailed information about the historical, cultural, political and economic background of the area was provided. After lunch students were involved in a Selfie Treasure Hunt: in order to check if they had understood the topics that had been proposed in the morning, they were asked to walk around the city centre and take some photos together with those people and products that make Parma so famous in the world.
|Pilotta - Parma|
|Piazza Garibaldi - Parma|
On 11th November, after voting the best photos taken during the Selfie Treasure Hunt, students took part in some project activities; in order to revise what they had learnt during the week, they were given the task to solve an entrepreneurial crossword puzzle and some cryptograms with famous quotes about entrepreneurship. Finally, the filled in the evalution questionnaire. The exchange ended with the closing ceremony where students and teachers received the certificates of attendance.